Laverne Cox Talks IMDb Birth Name Policy: ‘Lives Are at Stake if We Get These Things Wrong’ (Video)

“We experience so much discrimination when we’re dead-named and misgendered,” Cox says

Last Updated: August 17, 2019 @ 9:06 AM

Laverne Cox scored her third Emmy nomination this year for her groundbreaking role as Sophia Burset in “Orange Is the New Black.” She’s the only openly trans person nominated for an acting Emmy this year — something she hopes will change soon.

“I’m surprised that I’m still the only one,” Cox said in an interview with TheWrap, which you can watch above.

Though Cox is proud that “Orange” has provided “representation that we’ve never seen before,” Hollywood still has a ways to go towards fully embracing the trans community — one example is IMDb’s recently revised birth name policy, which drew criticism from GLAAD and SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris.

“It is deeply painful. We experience so much discrimination when we’re dead-named and misgendered, because what happens underneath that is the assumption that trans people aren’t we we say we are, that we’re somehow fraudulent,” Cox said. “All trans people are not openly trans, it’s not safe to be openly trans. I’m doing everything I can to make the world safe to be openly trans, but it’s not always safe. So publishing people’s birth names is not always a safe thing.”

“That should be your choice to disclose your trans status when you feel it’s safe on your terms. Lives are at stake when we get these things wrong.”

Cox first landed the audition for “Orange Is the New Black” seven years ago. Since then, her life has changed dramatically — she was about to quite acting before she landed the job.

“I’d turned 40 years old, and I was like, ‘Oh my, my life has not turned out quite the way I wanted it to, I can’t pay my rent, maybe I should got back to graduate school and get a real job,'” she said. “So that was the plan. I’d gotten GRE study materials from a friend of mine and I was exploring graduate schools and what I would major in, and the audition for ‘Orange’ came along, and I was like, I”m done with this acting thing, but I guess I’ll go.’ And I got the part.”

Now, the three-time Emmy nominee can seen dancing her cares away in Instagram videos — an homage to her favorite childhood pass-time.

“When I am dancing in my glam room on instagram, it’s like the little kid who danced to take myself away from the unfortunate, or the not ideal, environment I was in growing up in Mobile Alabama,” she said. “So if you can find that little kid in you and dance like that little kid, oh, I think that’s one of the best things in the world.”